Solar Eclipse in Leo
A solar eclipse occurred today in the tropical sign of Leo. Eclipses were traditionally seen as generally negative celestial omens since the luminaries which provide light and heat to the world are obscured during these times. For example, with the solar eclipse today the light of the Sun was completely blocked out and there was darkness in the middle of the day for a few minutes. The symbolism speaks for itself.
The early 5th century author Hephaistio of Thebes touched upon the meaning of eclipses briefly in the first book of his Apotelesmatics, apparently drawing on earlier Egyptian astrological doctrines which recent scholarship has shown to ultimately be derived from omens contained in the canonical Mesopotamian series known as the Enūma Anu Enlil.¹ It is clear from Hephaistio’s writings that the earlier tradition that he was drawing on did not consider eclipses to be propitious astrological omens. Here is a sample of the introduction to his section on this topic that deals with the observed color of a given eclipse:
The ancient Egyptians recorded the effects that arise from eclipses, most of which we mention briefly as follows. For total eclipses, the color black signifies the death of the ruler and depression and famine and change; red, affliction of the land; whitish, famine and death for the herds; purple, war and famine; gold-like, pestilence and death.²
By watching some video footage of the eclipse today as seen from Russia you can start to get a sense of why eclipses carried some of these negative connotations in the earliest strata of the astrological tradition:
From my perspective eclipses often act as bookends or time markers that link together six month periods of time in a person’s life or in mundane events in general. The whole sign house that the eclipse falls in will often act as the focal point of the eclipse, especially if it is hitting personal planets in the natal chart, and the topic associated with that house will often come into focus during the six month period in between that eclipse and the next one.
Pay close attention to which whole sign house this eclipse falls in in your own natal chart, and observe whether or not the topics associated with that house become more prominent around the time of the eclipse and during the course of the next few months.
¹ See Clemency Williams’ paper titled ‘Some Details on the Transmission of Astral Omens’ in From The Banks of the Euphrates: Studies in Honor of Alice Louise Slotsky, ed. Micah Ross, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, IN, 2008.
² Hephaistionis Thebani Apotelesmaticorum libri tres, Book 1, Ch. 21: 1-2, ed. David Pingree, 2 vols., B. G. Teubner, Leipzig, 1973-74. Translation from Hephaistio of Thebes, Apotelesmatics Book 1, trans. Robert Schmidt, ed. Robert Hand, Project Hindsight, 1994, pg. 44.